What is a meniscus tear?

The meniscus are two c-shaped pieces of tough, rubbery cartilage located in the middle of the knee, between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone). The meniscus acts as a shock absorber and adds stabilization to the knee joint during movement. A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries seen by our sports medicine specialists at BICMD. A meniscus tear can be painful and debilitating and require proper meniscus repair by a skilled and experienced orthopedic knee specialist. A second opinion is always a good idea when looking into treatment options for a torn meniscus. The experts at BICMD can evaluate your MRI and suggest the best surgical option for the best possible outcome.

What is a meniscus repair?

A meniscus repair is a surgical procedure that is needed when conservative treatments fail to alleviate pain and restore knee stability. Meniscus repair can be done arthroscopically, using a small camera and specialized instruments, inserted into the knee through small incisions, and used to operate within the knee capsule. The size, location and severity of meniscus tear will determine the procedure needed to repair or replace the meniscus. Arthroscopic meniscus surgery may include:

  • Meniscus Repair:

Some meniscal tears can be repaired if they are located in the area of the knee with a rich blood supply called the “red zone.” In this outer third portion of the meniscus, a tear can be repaired using strong sutures. During a meniscus repair, the surgeon will bring the damaged tissue back together and secure it carefully, allowing the meniscus to heal.

  • Meniscus Debridement:

A meniscus debridement is done arthroscopically. The goal of a meniscus debridement is to remove torn cartilage fragments while preserving as much of the meniscus as possible. The frayed meniscus is trimmed and contoured using special instruments.

  • Partial Meniscectomy:

A partial meniscectomy can be done arthroscopically. It is similar to debridement, where the aim is to remove as little of the meniscal tissue as possible. During a partial meniscectomy the meniscus tear is trimmed down to remove any edges which could catch in the joint and cause further knee pain. The goal is to form a shallow depression in the meniscus, while leaving it intact when possible.

  • Meniscus Transplant:

A meniscus transplant is one of the most technically involved surgeries in sports medicine and requires a surgeon who has extensive experience and skill. A meniscus transplant is performed arthroscopically and uses a donor cartilage called an allograft. Correct sizing is critical, as is the placement of the new meniscus.

What are the risks of a meniscus repair?

One of the complications of a torn meniscus can be incorrect or incomplete diagnosis. Some patients undergo surgery when a torn meniscus is not the true source of their knee pain. It is worth the extra time, energy and expense to make an informed decision about your knee surgery and the type of meniscus surgery you should have. Our experts at BICMD have a proven track record for evaluating and diagnosing knee meniscus injuries and can set you on the correct path toward the best recovery.

How long is the recovery after meniscus repair?

The time for recovery is determined largely by the type of meniscus repair surgery performed. A repair of the meniscus can take 4 weeks before weight bearing is allowed. A complete meniscus transplant can take 4 to 5 months of healing time.

For more information about meniscus repair, debridement and meniscus transplant or to receive a second opinion for your knee condition, please click on “Connect With a Doctor” to reach one of our orthopedic telemedicine experts.